The 1910 Federal Census lists the occupation of my grandmother Adelheid T. (Pohl) Stewart as a Taper at the Electric Works. She was 19 then, just prior to her marriage with John Galbreath Stewart later that year.
I’ve been curious for some time. What was a Taper? No doubt the “Electric Works” was Westinghouse Electric Manufacturing Company in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was a short distance from Turtle Creek, where my grandmother lived.
Through the wonders of the Internet I happened upon a short video clip produced in 1904 that explains a lot.
The clip was posted on YouTube by the Library of Congress. It shows young women winding what appears to be insulating tape around electrical coils. I can assume this video shows something very similar to Ida as a young woman and her daily surroundings on the job.
Tapers at work. Mystery solved.